We look for it on Facebook. On Instagram. We join groups and clubs hoping we’ll find it. We pray that we’ll have it with a spouse one day. Sometimes we experience it, but it can hide away quickly. We are tempted to sell ourselves out to have it for a moment. Some of us have had it, but we’ve ruined it. Others of us are grasping for it, only to watch it slip through our fingers.
We all want to feel connected. To something or someone. To our communities and neighborhoods. To people. We want to be understood completely, known fully, and loved unconditionally. Our hearts long for real, meaningful connection.
But, we don’t need to search for it. We don’t need to sell ourselves out to find it. We can stop looking. Because we have it in Jesus.
In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and you are the branches.” We are connected to Jesus. And, Jesus understands us completely, knows us fully, and loves us unconditionally. The connection we have with Jesus is the one we’ve been waiting for.
You see, when you’re connected to Jesus, you are connected to the very source of life. He grounds you, uplifts you, and feeds you. Jesus’ life flows through your veins. The death He died and the life He lives is yours. You are connected to Him.
Our connections in life are often crucial to our identities. When we’re in Jr. High we start defining ourselves by our groups of friends. We’re either connected to the nerds, the band geeks, the “cool” kids, the jocks, or the rebels. These connections start to form who we are. When we grow up, not much changes.
When we start looking for a job we learn that it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters. Good luck getting a job without the right connections. Eventually we define ourselves by our connections to our families: “I’m Billy’s mom” or “I’m Katie’s wife” or “I’m Bob’s son”. When we want to impress a crowd we name drop the brief connections and encounters we’ve had with celebrities or athletes.
But, the only connection that matters – the one that makes us who we are to our core – is our connection with Jesus. He is our vine. We are His branches. Through baptism we are clothed with Him, united with Him, and the connection begins. Through His Word and Supper the connection is strengthened. In our prayers and our acts of love the connection is lived out.
“Remain in me” Jesus tells us over and over in John 15. “Stay connected,” He’s saying. There’s no mystery to how that’s done. Remaining in Jesus isn’t a problem we need to solve. Just stay where God put you: Remember your baptism, spend time in His Word, and feast on His Supper. And when you do, God will work His fruit. You will bloom where you are planted.
You are connected. Connected to Jesus.
To read more, you can check out my book “Growing Up: In, With, and Under Jesus” on Amazon.